Magic and Alignments in Our Game

We’ve roughly defined the mystic/magic philosophy that we will use in our game. In our world, there is a mystical power field that permeates the universe. We’re calling it “The Force” until we can come up with something better.

Clerics use this power to perform magic by meditating and letting the energy flow through them, using metaphysical discipline to “plug in” to it and channel it for their purposes. Druids use similar methods, but rather than meditating and using mind over body to access the mystic force, they commune with nature and use their understanding of life and the natural world to draw upon it.

Magic-users and illusionists, on the other hand, use science, physics, and mathematical formulae to tap into this force, siphoning off a small amount and harnessing it so they can force it to perform magic for them. It is not a partnership with the force like clerics and druids employ, but rather a method of exploiting its power.

There are beings who call themselves gods and goddesses, and people worship these beings. But they are really no more than very powerful monsters. Clerics may be affiliated with a religion, but that religion is not the source of their power.

We’re more or less sticking with the three-alignment system, but we’re switching the terminology a little to fit in with our worldview:

Light Side: These beings are most often good and generally lawful. Though not necessarily kind or even law-abiding, they will stand together if the final battle comes. Light Side characters are opposed to the Dark Side but they usually do not fight it on a daily basis.

Dark Side: These are usually not terribly nice and often quite evil. Dark Side characters are not always opposed to the Light Side characters, but their views of the world and how it should be run are self-centered and generally chaotic.

Unaligned: These beings are not on either the Light Side or the Dark Side. This does not mean they are in the middle. They are simply not on anyone else’s side. If the final battle comes, most of them will hide until it’s over.

This system is very much in keeping with my view of clerics as mystic warriors, though we do not allow them to use edged weapons.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that spell casters DO NOT need to pre-memorize spells. Time must be spent in study/meditation but any spell the caster knows can be cast at any time. The number of spells per day per level is unchanged, though a higher level slot can be used to cast a lower level spell if desired. To slightly offset the large advantage that this gives spell casters, casting the same spell more than once in a day requires a successful save vs. spells. Subsequent attempts are save at -2 for the third try, -4 for the fourth, and so on.

If the save fails, the spell does not work, but we haven’t decided if it uses up that slot for the day or not.

Also, clerics and druids have “known spells” just as magic-users and illusionists do, though they do not have spellbooks. Clerics simply have patterns in the Force that they recognize and meditate upon, while druids have rune-inscribed stones or pieces of wood that serve as their “spell book.” They usually carry these around on a leather loop.

Finding a new rune stone is how druids acquire new spells, or they can try to create their own rune stone for a spell they want to learn. Clerics learn new spells by finding them written down or are taught them by other clerics. I haven’t quite worked that out yet.

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7 Responses to Magic and Alignments in Our Game

  1. Timeshadows says:

    May I ask why you do not allow them edged weapons?

    • Kilgore says:

      Hah hah. The million GP question.

      Basically it’s a game balance thingy at this point, a restriction on the class compared to fighters so clerics are not fighters with slightly worse combat tables but magic spells. No convincing “flavor” justification for it.

      I’ve always thought the cleric class had stupendously low XP requirements, and though I’ve ramped their progression requirements up a bit in my new experimental system, giving them access to 1d8 weapons and magic swords seemed a bit much. It still may come to pass as we work things out, but I don’t want to cross that line quite yet.

      • Timeshadows says:

        Okay. Thanks. 🙂

        What if they could use Edged, but couldn’t get more than d6 out of their use?
        –Just thinking at it from a different direction.

        My reason for asking, is that your Clerics gave me a very Jedi feel, and I thought the ‘lightsaber’ would go well with that shtick.
        –Goofy, I know. 😉

        • Kilgore says:

          “My reason for asking, is that your Clerics gave me a very Jedi feel, and I thought the ‘lightsaber’ would go well with that shtick.
          –Goofy, I know. ;)”

          LOL. That is EXACTLY what started all this. This started as our cleric rule for S&W White Box and I decided to allow all classes all weapons. That brought me to clerics with swords being a sort of Jedi warrior, particularly with no Paladin in the game. When we abandoned our White Box plans, the idea stuck with me.

          I’m actually considering trying the weapon damage by class idea, or maybe tweaking what classes use what weapons. (Clerics get swords but no missile weapons, maybe? And/or no shield?) But I’m hesitant to pull the trigger at this point, particularly with an expansion of what they can use. I’m thinking it’s easier to give them more later than to give it now and try to take it back if I change my mind.

          • Timeshadows says:

            No missile, no shield make a great adjustment.
            –I think that may be the way to go.

            If I may add further: Perhaps restricting the Clerics’ choice to d6 based blades, but then giving them some sort of boost as they level (gaining greater mastery over their integration with the For– Aether/Essence.

            Level 1: +0
            Level 3: +1
            Level 5: +2, etc.
            –and adding their Wis mod. instead of StrMod.

            So that in time, they can do more damage than even a high-Str Fighter wielding a d10 sword, but at the expense of the lack of missile weapons, and shield.

            We both know that there are so many tweaks that could be enacted to propel them into true Jedihood, while ensuring that traditional Fighter types don’t lose their time in the spotlight.

            Modified Monks from AEC + Lightsabres + Clerical Spells? 😀

            In any case, I really look forward to reading more of the setting, the rules, and the family adventures.

            Bravo! 😀

  2. bat says:

    I would call it “The Essence” or “The Aether”.
    Neat idea, by the way!

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